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- On March 22, 2018
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Wrought iron has been used for centuries to create everything from the weapons of ancient times to today’s luxury iron doors. This beautiful yet resilient metal can be molded into beautifully elegant designs and was used to make doors and gateways in medieval times to keep out invaders. But what is wrought iron exactly?
The History of Wrought Iron
Wrought iron was first discovered in what is now modern-day Turkey in the second century BCE. The word “Wrought” is an ancient term meaning “to work.” The term wrought iron describes how the metal is made by rolling and hammering it while hot to mold it.
Because wrought iron was abundant and easily made, it was used for a variety of applications. Tools, weapons and other hardware were all made of wrought iron. Its durability and resilience to the elements made it the preferred metal over bronze and other soft metals of the time.
What is Wrought Iron
Wrought iron is made from a process of smelting iron ore while depleting its carbon content, making it stronger and more resilient. Unlike cast iron, which has a very high carbon content, wrought iron is more malleable, less brittle and resistant to rust. It was the preferred metal of artisans and craftsman of the time.
In fact, because of its durability and ease of manipulation at high temperatures, wrought iron was the metal of choice until refined steel was developed in the mid-19th century.
Types of Wrought Iron (Charcoal and Puddle Iron)
Of the two most common processes to make wrought iron, charcoal iron was the first and most simplistic. Charcoal was used as a coke (fuel) and reducing agent in the smelting process which separates the iron metal from its ore.
The next big step in metallurgy was the puddling furnace used to create puddling iron. It was invented in the last part of the 16th century and used a blast furnace with water power to separate the ore from the iron. This process resulted in fewer impurities in the metal and propelled the use of wrought iron to its peak.
History of Wrought Iron Doors
After the invention of puddle iron, blacksmiths started to create more decorative uses for the metal including doors. A door made from wrought iron was extremely strong, was resistant to rust, and usually stronger than the home.
Eventually, wrought iron became a status symbol representing wealth, power and permanence. Today, the use of wrought iron doors in Phoenix, Arizona is a sign of style and affluence.
Feature image: A_Lesik/Shutterstock